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School of Management receives $3M grant for programs for underserved students

The UCLA Anderson School of Management is pictured. (Justin Jung/Daily Bruin senior staff)

By Sharla Steinman

April 23, 2023 10:16 p.m.

The UCLA Anderson School of Management received a $3 million grant March 22 from the Riordan Foundation to further support its collaborations with the school.

Founded in 1987 by former Mayor of Los Angeles Richard Riordan and then-professor of management William Ouchi, the Anderson-Riordan programs provide a pathway for underrepresented students to excel in business and leadership.

Mary Odell, chair of the Riordan Foundation, said the programs at Anderson were created with the purpose of providing a pool of qualified candidates from underserved communities with skills to enter the business world. Roxanne Mendez, the executive director of the Riordan Programs, said in an emailed statement that the funds will be used to continue that legacy.

The Riordan Foundation supports three Anderson programs for high school and post-graduate students.

The UCLA Riordan Scholars Program provides high school students with college preparation and financial literacy help and allows for an early introduction to learning about business, Mendez said. The program also pairs each student with an Anderson mentor, she added.

“Well over 90% of the Riordan scholars go on to enroll in four-year colleges, and more than half of those go on to very selective colleges,” said Ouchi, a now-professor emeritus at the School of Management.

Another Anderson-Riordan collaboration, the weeklong summer College to Career program, allows university students to gain knowledge in interview and presentation skills, professional dress and salary negotiations, Mendez said in an interview.

Additionally, the Riordan MBA Fellows Program at the School of Management focuses on recent graduates looking to attend a top business school by letting them attend faculty lectures, meet mentors from the school, participate in case studies and prepare their Master of Business Administration applications, Mendez added.

Participants have benefited greatly from mentors and educators in these programs, with some receiving internships, guidance and friends, said Stephen Mendoza – a School of Management MBA student, former Riordan Scholar and College-to-Career program alumnus.

Mendoza said that as the first in his family to graduate from college, the Riordan programs he attended were an opportunity to build a network, get a mentor for pursuing an MBA and be surrounded by other students on the same journey.

Assael Mendez, a second-year international development studies student and Riordan Scholars alumnus, said participating in the Riordan Scholars Program in high school pushed him to pursue higher education as a first-generation Latino student.

“I’m a proud Latino first-generation male; my parents didn’t go to college,” Assael Mendez said. “These were things the Riordan program founders noticed and wanted to help people with.”

Educators said they felt inspired by their work with the scholars.

“No matter how tough a week I’ve had, after teaching on a Saturday at the Riordan Program I always leave feeling much happier and energized than when I arrived,” said Jeffrey Kabot, an instructor for the Riordan Scholars Program and director on the board of the Riordan Foundation, in an emailed statement.

The program has helped provide an avenue for promoting community, diversity and sharing of knowledge for professionals to participate in throughout their careers, Kabot added.

“Being in the classroom with the Riordan Scholars is a true wellspring of energy and has kept me coming back for 30 years,” Kabot said.

Roxanne Mendez said she hopes to provide students with access to faculty and mentorships by the Anderson MBA students, particularly in working on presentational skills such as building confidence.

Amara Hill, a Riordan Scholars alumnus and second-year government student at Cornell, said the program was pivotal in getting her where she is today through the help she received on college applications and the encouragement to apply to Ivy League schools.

“I think it’s really great that they’re getting more funding and recognition because the program is really impactful, not only for me but to a lot of my peers as well,” Hill said.

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Sharla Steinman | City and Crime Editor
Steinman is the 2023-2024 city and crime editor. She was previously a city and crime contributor. She is also a fourth-year political science student.
Steinman is the 2023-2024 city and crime editor. She was previously a city and crime contributor. She is also a fourth-year political science student.
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